I started a Ph.D. these past few weeks in Biblical Studies. I have worked hard to get to this point, following in step in God’s timing. But I also am not forgetting the support of family, friends, academic colleagues and mentors who have encouraged me. It truly does take a village. Preparing for this, as well as just trying to pace myself through my twenties—with the big three-oh in a few months—has taken much time away from blogging. However, with the onslaught of academic writing, I’ve realized a need to keep up leisure writing such as this.
For those who don’t know me personally, these high mountains haven’t come without low valleys. My dad entered the pearly gates last Fall, and his harrowing decline and passing forced me to come to terms with a lot of big questions. Questions that I thought I had already faced. Such as, “What is this all for? What’s the point if we’re all just going to suffer and die?”
Though I had already wrestled with this question before, have firm faith in Jesus, am in ministry, and am a Bible student, my head knowledge hadn’t become heart knowledge on this one topic just yet. I hadn’t lost someone that close to me before.
As I reflected, I could understand why a lot of people slip into a mindset where life is meaningless, especially when tragedy strikes, aligning oneself with the phrase “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” (a blend of Ecclesiastes 8:15 and Isaiah 22:13). But at the bottom of my bucket of sadness and mourning, I was reminded of something. The reason I keep going is because this life isn’t all there is.
Those verses were intended to highlight the meaninglessness of secular living. That is, a life without a belief in God. Without a belief in God, specifically Jesus Christ, believing that after this life there is nothingness, of course we will stay in despair. There would be nothing to hope for. Nothing to strive for. Sure, without faith, I could say that I live for doing good in the world, and making my family and friends happy. But if we all die at the end, I would come back to meaninglessness. Even if our purpose is to make the world better for future generations, where whatever we do will have a longterm impact, we can’t guarantee that this earth will always be here. That the human race will always be here. We can’t always guarantee a point to living, let alone in a particular way.
Unless there’s something after this life.
There has to be more. There must be more. This is why so many look to leave a “legacy” behind on earth. Why so many, once their basic needs are met, try to find meaning in this world in higher levels of thinking, reasoning, and experience. As human beings, we all ache to find meaning, purpose, and value for what we do. It’s in our very nature. We can’t help but want it. I’d argue that we want to find a purpose because we’re supposed to have one, much like how we want food when we’re hungry because we’re supposed to be fed.
This will lead me to write a series of blog posts that branch off of this one, to give you all bite-sized portions of, well, what it means to live. What matters, and what doesn’t, how to let go, and how to hold on.
So keep going, friend. Don’t give up yet. You have so much more life left to live, and live well. God bless.